November 28, 2023

The New York International Auto Show is filled with exotic, stunning vehicles, but some aren’t as attractive. Here are ten ugly rides on the show floor.

1991 Mercedes-Benz 300TE wagon

The owner of this 1991 Mercedes-Benz 300TE wagon added some unsightly modifications.Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

This 1991 Mercedes-Benz 300TE wagon belongs to Aston Lapadula, 15. He doesn’t drive yet, but he bought it for $3,200 and then added some unsightly modifications. New paint, guniwheels and lowered the suspension, which incidentally cost nearly twice as much as the vehicle – about $6,000 for parts and labour. No offense Aston, but this three-pointed star is an eyesore. However, it proves beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Toyota Rhombus

The Toyota Rhombus’s bulbous design isn’t exactly aerodynamic or attractive.Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

Meet the Rhombus – a zero-emission, battery-powered concept vehicle from Toyota. It looks like it is right out of the Jetsons. Designed to showcase the future of mobility, the single front seat swivels so the driver can chat with the passengers in the rear seats in a living room like setting. Inside, all switches are touch sensitive. Outside, side-view mirrors are replaced with cameras. Unfortunately, that bulbous design isn’t exactly aerodynamic or attractive, to say the least.

Related: The five wildest cars that stole the show at the New York International Auto Show

Jeep Grand Wagoneer L

The bulky design of the Jeep Grand Wagoneer L means it’s an accident waiting to happen.Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

Do we really need a long-wheelbase version of the brawny Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer? No. Designed to compete against the Cadillac Escalade ESV, the Lincoln Navigator L and the Chevrolet Suburban, the new 2023 Wagoneer L and Grand Wagoneer L are 30.5 centimetres longer than the standard-wheelbase models. The result is a bulky, hideous design with ghastly gaps over the rear wheel wells. Good luck driving and parking this massive beast, too. It’s an accident waiting to happen.

Rolls-Royce Cullinan

The interior of the Rolls-Royce Cullinan is luxurious, but the exterior is a different story.Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

Money can’t buy good taste. Case in point – the Rolls-Royce Cullinan SUV. It’s expensive, costing more than $400,000. Sure, it’s luxurious inside with plush leather upholstery, real wood and Rolls-Royce champagne flutes along with a cooler and whiskey decanter housed in the centre console. But on the exterior, it’s a different story. From every angle, it’s horrid – gigantic, ungraceful and imposing. But I guess, that’s a Rolls.

Vinfast VF 9

The side profile of the Vinfast VF 9 is unsightly, especially from the rear three-quarter anglePetrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

Vietnamese car company Vinfast is driving into the North American market and bringing new electric vehicles to Canada this year. Billed as an affordable alternative to the mainstream EV competition, this full-size VF 9 SUV has three-rows of seats. Don’t get me wrong, the design is okay from the front end, but the side profile is unsightly, especially from the rear three-quarter angle, which looks unbalanced and awkward.

Volkswagen Beetle

You need to wear shades to look at this gold-wrapped Volkswagen Beetle.Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

The Volkswagen Beetle is one of the world’s most iconic cars. After more than eight decades, the German automaker halted production in 2019 with more than 23 million Beetles sold in 91 countries. But you can bet there’s only one original Beetle with a rounded body, upright windshield and bright-coloured, gold-wrapped exterior like this one. That’s a relief – you need to wear shades to look at this little Bug.

Customized Chevrolet Camaro

The Customized Chevrolet Camaro is over the top.Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

This customized sports car looks even worse than the gold-wrapped Beetle. Under all that plastic surgery and the graffiti blue, black, white and grey wrap, it appears to be a Chevrolet Camaro. This customization job is over the top – atrocious and gawdy from every angle. At least, if you ding it, you won’t see any scratches on the chaotic pattern.


The four helicopter blades on the DocGo flying ambulance aren’t going to get this monster vehicle off the ground.Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

This flying ambulance, called ambulnz from DocGo, is a smart concept. It’s a zero-emissions vehicle intended to tackle any medical emergency on the sea, air or land. But those four helicopter blades aren’t going to get this monster vehicle with its massive rubber treads off the ground. It’ll likely never hover over traffic in the Big Apple.

1991 Jaguar XJR-15

The canary yellow colour for the 1991 Jaguar XJR-15 has to go.Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

Only 53 Jaguar XJR-15s were built between 1990 and 1992. Twenty-eight were made with road-worthy specifications including this 1991 XJR-15. Built to celebrate Jaguar’s victories at the 1987 Daytona 24 Hours, 1988 LeMans 24 Hours and the Group C World Championship, the two-seater is the world’s first fully carbon fibre world car with the body designed by Peter Stevens. Sure, it’s probably worth a fortune, but that canary yellow colour has to go. Thankfully, it’s one of only three finished in that shade.

1992 Venturi 400 Trophy

The massive rear wing spoiler on the 1992 Venturi 400 Trophy ruins an otherwise attractive design.Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

This massive rear wing spoiler is a horrible design detail on an otherwise attractive race car, known as the “French F40.” This 1992 Venturi 400 Trophy is one of 100 vehicles produced – 73 built for racing. Powered by a three-litre turbocharged V6 engine with 400 horsepower, it even competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

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